I was in for a shock. Admiral Stavridis devoted his entire speech to the value of writing for Proceedings and other professional journals. He told his audience of uniformed NCOs and officers that if they wanted to be "part of the conversation" on developments in their services and broader national security issues they needed to sit down at their computers and actively join the debate.
Now, in this issue of Proceedings , the admiral reinforces his oral presentation with a forceful article, "Read, Think, Write, and Publish," that memorializes his message. For those who fear a backlash if what they write goes against the grain of conventional wisdom, keep in mind that the author has contributed to Proceedings at every rank from Naval Academy midshipman to 4-star admiral.
If Admiral Stavridis's article provides inspiration to the fledgling, reluctant, or wary writer, Kate Bateman's engaging companion piece, "War on (Buzz)Words" offers concrete guidance, and some laughs along the way.
We always spotlight the Coast Guard in August. Contributing writer Art Pine leads off our package with an article on the Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen, who Mr. Pine says is driving "the most sweeping restructuring" of the service since before World War II. "Admiral Allen's Blue Tsunami" describes how the man credited with pulling together the bumbling 2005 Hurricane Katrina relief effort is revamping everything from a creaking budgetary process to major operational commands.
"How to (Mis)Handle a Defection" recalls the bungled aftermath of the November 1970 bolt to freedom of Lithuanian sailor Simas Kudirka near Martha's Vineyard. Kudirka leaped from his Soviet fishing vessel to the Coast Guard cutter Vigilant , which was alongside. But the Vigilant 's skipper, on orders from higher ups, allowed the Soviet crew to board his ship and retrieve Kudirka. Eugene Fidell, a retired Coast Guard lieutenant commander and lawyer, recounts the sensational episode, in which he himself was a player, and the fall-out from it.
For those who like lists (and who doesn't?) we offer a new reading list from the Warlord Loop, a nonpartisan, invitation only, Internet-based forum in which national security specialists in and out uniform exchange views on issues of the day. For this list, Loop participants chose two books that they believe will help responsible officials "prepare for an uncertain future" and concerned citizens "understand salient issues." Some choices are predictable— The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 , by Lawrence Wright—others anything but— Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps , by Allan and Barbara Pease.
We are always pleased when midshipmen—Naval Academy or NROTC—grace our pages. This month we have an abundance of riches from the Academy, two winning entries from the Commander William Earl Fannin Class of 1945 Capstone Essay Contest. Marine Second Lieutenant Nicole Fiedler, a May graduate, examines in "The Distance Between Selfless and Selfish Leadership" the evolving role of today's officer in an asymmetric combat environment. In "Simulating the Heat of Battle," her Academy classmate, Ensign Rhett Gilman, looks at the differing values of computer-based and hands-on training, and comes down on the side of the latter.
Army Lieutenant General Ann Dunwoody will soon pin on four stars, the first woman in the U.S. military to do so. Reserve Army Major Sharon Tosi Moore, a member of the Institute's Editorial Board, offers a fitting tribute as she describes the long road taken by women to reach four-star rank, in "Four Stars, Finally!"
Ben Bradlee, the legendary editor who directed the Washington Post during its iconic coverage of the Watergate Scandal, is guest columnist for this month's "Answering the Call." Many know of his journalistic accomplishments, but most will be surprised to learn about the ten battle stars on his World War II Pacific Theater ribbon.